State shellfish managers have approved a razor clam dig beginning March 24 with openings alternating between Mocrocks and Copalis beaches for three days.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the opening on evening tides after marine toxin tests confirmed the clams on those two beaches are safe to eat.
A planned dig at Twin Harbors has been canceled after test results showed elevated levels of domoic acid, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
Domoic acid has posed an ongoing problem for shellfish fisheries along Washington’s coast since 2015. The natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.
“Unfortunately, toxin levels spiked again at Twin Harbors, prompting us to cancel this opening there,” Ayres said. “We’ll continue to monitor toxin levels at all our ocean beaches and hope to offer some digging dates for Twin Harbors and Long Beach as soon as clams are safe to eat.”
Diggers should be aware that only one beach – either Mocrocks or Copalis – will be open each day of the upcoming dig, Ayres said. Maps of the beaches can be found on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.
The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:
- March 24, Friday, 5:01 p.m.; 0.5 feet; Mocrocks
- March 25, Saturday, 5:44 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Copalis
- March 26, Sunday, 6:24 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Mocrocks
No digging is allowed on open beaches before noon. The best digging typically occurs one to two hours before low tide, Ayres said.
WDFW also has tentatively scheduled a four-day dig on morning tides that alternates open days between Mocrocks and Copalis beginning March 30. Final approval of that dig depends on the results of an upcoming toxin test.
Shellfish managers have been alternating open dates between the two beaches to maximize the number of days available this season.
Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2016-17 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.